Right at the start of the story Basil Hallward, who is somewhat obsessive over the young and beautiful Dorian Gray, decides to paint a portrait in his praise. Unbeknownst to Basil, Dorian had been speaking to Lord
In 1890 Oscar Wilde published the first version of « The Picture of Dorian Gray » in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Unfortunately the story was immediately considered as scandalous due to its references of homosexual desire. The story appears to be promoting the relationship between three men; Basil, Lord Henry and Dorian Gray, whom the two men admire and fascinate about.
Some feel very strongly about what they know to be certain. Some feel certain about religion, others about love. In Oscar Wilde’s book The Picture of Dorian Gray a character, Lord Henry Wotton, says this, : “The things one feels absolutely certain about are never true. That is the fatality of Faith, and the lesson of romance” (181). The truth one knows does not always prove to be certain. Truth varies for each person and truths have been disproved throughout history. Science has also brought to light many new discoveries to everyone’s lives. Therefore, this epigram is valid and the things one feels certain about are not true.
Another theme illustrated through Wilde’s use of motifs and symbols is the theme of superficiality. The theme of superficiality can be understood as a sense of the superficial view of outer beauty that is shown in the work. It relates to the concept of remaining young, which is an important factor of what is shown in the novel. This is an important part of the novel because outer beauty plays a bigger role for Dorian, than inner beauty does. In the beginning of the novel, Lord Henry and Dorian have a conversation that focuses on the topic of youth and Dorian 's outer beauty – Lord Henry mentions the fact that Dorian has a beautiful face, and later during this conversation, Lord Henry states that: “youth is the only thing worth having…” (Wilde 23). This conversation leads Dorian to wish that he will only age in the painting, and not in reality. Wilde creates a theme of superficiality as he shows through motifs and symbols how Dorian’s sinful and horrific inner beauty becomes excused as the characters of the novel primarily superficially values Dorian’s outer beauty.
The Picture of Dorian gray is a book written by Oscar Wilde and it was published in 1880. The book was later revised by addition of more chapters and reprinted in April 1891. Dorian Gray is the main character in this book that is described as a beautiful and unspoiled male who changes his life completely by sinning and pleasure after meeting Lord Henry. Basil Hallward who is a painter develops obsession for Dorian because of his beauty whereas Lord Henry Wotton Basil’s friend influences Dorian with his theories about life, pleasure and women even though he had no intention of changing Dorian’s personality. Lord Henry’s influence in Dorian leads to his downfall. The author’s main themes are identity, influence, and experience.
In chapter one and two, Wilde begins to suggest a biblical allusion by characterizing Basil Hallward as a God figure, Lord Henry Wotton as a Satanic figure, and Dorian Gray as humanity. Basil is an artist, reflecting a Creator image and hinting at Isaiah 64:8 which says, “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” In explaining to Lord Henry about his artwork, Basil also mirrors Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them,” by remarking, “every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter" (Wilde 9). Basil explains that his creation, the painting, was created in his own likeness, establishing himself as a God figure. Likewise, Wilde strongly labels Lord Henry as a devilish character through biblical allusion. Throughout the novel, Lord Henry acts as a tempter, a corrupter, and a liar, all of which are intrinsic traits of the Devil. Often, the devil has quoted from scripture in order to twist its meaning into a lie in order to corrupt. In chapter nineteen, Lord Henry does just that by causally stating, “By the way, Dorian (…) what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose—how does the quotation run?—his
The Picture of Dorian Gray begins on a beautiful season day in Victorian-era England where Lord Henry Wotton, a determined man, is observing the sensitive artist Basil Hallward painting the painting of Dorian Gray, a handsome young man who is Basil 's ultimate inspiration. Though sitting for the painting, Dorian listens to Lord Henry adopting his hedonistic worldview and begins to think that beauty is the only aspect of life worth trying. This encourages Dorian to wish that the painted image of himself would age in his stead.
The portrait, the main symbol of the novel, carries all the marks of Gray 's degeneration, who is exploring all possible vices and desires, without to notice his moral decay. And all these marks show on the canvas, become a sort of conscience for Dorian.
As a writer one is greatly influenced by their personal experiences with social, historical, and cultural context within their specific time period. Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray was shaped by the aspects of the world around him. The themes of the text are are influenced by morality in the Victorian Era. Throughout the Victorian Era a deeper movement was also prominent in London called Aestheticism. Aestheticism is the worship of beauty and self-fulfillment. Wilde is greatly influenced by the societal movements in the Victorian Era, therefore the theme of hedonism is prominent displaying the influence of Aestheticism in The Picture of Dorian Gray and further explaining the consequences of selfishness and self-pleasure.
The theme of appearance extends further in Dorian’s life. Dorian’s outer beauty allows him to get away with almost anything, due to the fact that people equals his outer beauty to him being a good person. In reality, Wilde makes it very clear that Dorian Gray is not a good person.
Dorian Gray, the protagonist in the novel, lives a superficially stable double life. The portrait that Basil Hallward, Dorian’s artist and friend, created for Dorian caused a self-image imbalance. The portrait was young and juvenile, while Dorian was soon to grow old and immoral. Thus causing a mental epiphany that made Dorian realize he could not have his fellow peers discover he is not innocent. “” At least you are like it in appearance. But it will never alter,” sighed Hallward. “that is something.”” (Wilde 33) The reader begins to perceive that Dorian is both intrigued and disgusted by the never changing portrait of his innocence. At this point, Dorian begins to acquire the indication to switch souls with the painting, in order to
From the start, Lord Henry is portrayed with a mysterious demur, making the reader unsure of his intentions and persona. It is only with further development in the novel, do Lord Henry’s true colors emerge. Lord Henry is a character who knows what he wants and who he is, and not easily swayed by the influence of others, unlike the other character in the novel, specifically Dorian Gray. With a quick wit and controversial philosophies, Lord Henry quickly makes a name for himself in the beginning of the novel. On the exterior, Lord Henry lives a life that calls for excessive indulgence in luxury and
These three main characters had different personality that made the story more interesting. Dorian Gray was full of himself wishing to remain in youth, in return, he was willing to sacrifice his own soul and unfortunately his wish came true. Thus, this makes Dorian Gray commit all the sins he wants and only the portrait got affected as he become immortal and not aging, not a single wrinkle in his face. Second character is Lord Henry which was Basil’s friend when Dorian Gray first met him. Lord Henry enthralled Dorian Gray with his world view, which was an extreme hedonism form as he assumed that the only worthwhile life of a person spent was by pursuing beauty and satisfaction for the senses. His views, opinions and influences captivated by Dorian Gray which continuously encourages Dorian Gray into bad things. The third main character is Basil Hallward who was an artist that paints a picture of Dorian Gray and thus, becomes obsessed with him as Dorian Gray’s beauty was Basil’s art object. Basil feelings towards Dorian were left unclear, likely because in that time, those who involved in homosexual are going to be punish be society. ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray’ book, Oscar Wilde emphasized some relationships which were Basil Hallward and Lord Henry were friends of Dorian Gray, but, as I reach to the middle pages, Basil had feelings for Dorian Gray as he even confessed to Dorian in Dorian’s
From the beginning of the novel we get to see a model of poor and unconventional morality, Lord Henry Wotton, a man who is moved by an ethic current called “New Hedonism” which taking into account society’s ethics (specially the ones from the Victorian Era) is quite immoral. The New Hedonism basically consists in looking for the individual’s best comfort, pleasure and happiness (based on beauty), leaving aside the other’s comfort and what should be morally done. This character with poor morality is who guides the book’s main character Dorian Gray along his adventure. However, it is vital to take into account the fact that Dorian Gray is never forced to follow New Hedonism and that Wilde never influences or invites the reader to follow New Hedonist
Dorian Gray starts off as a harsh person who thinks about repairing his mistakes, but transitions to a selfish murderer who seeks pleasure, all because of Lord Henrys poisonous words. Dorian Gray ruined countless lives throughout the book and goes from breaking hearts and causing suicides, to killing his good friend Basil Hallward. As a result of Lord Henry’s influence, he begins to think only about himself and for his own benefit and pleasure and nothing of anyone else. This leads him to a selfish, evil